TAMPA — Some areas that South Florida coach Jose Fernandez believed his team needed to improve on were limiting second-chance points, offensive rebounding and getting scoring from players other than Courtney Williams, Alisia Jenkins, Akila McDonald and Inga Orekhova.
The Bulls received much-needed help across the board on Sunday in cruising to a 75-56 victory against Stetson in the second round of the Women’s NIT.
USF (21-12) dominated the boards and had assists on 25 of 31 baskets in advancing to a Thursday matchup against George Washington at the Sun Dome.
“I think one thing we did really well was share the basketball,” said Fernandez, whose team beat Stetson 72-68 on Dec. 8. “To have 25 of your 31 baskets assisted is pretty good. I thought we shared it well and we defended. I think we’ve played pretty well in the year 2014.”
Rebounding the basketball on both ends was an issue in South Florida’s WNIT opening-round game against North Carolina A&T, but that wasn’t the case against Stetson (27-8) as the Bulls won the battle of the boards 43-32.
South Florida’s improved offensive rebounding combined with scoring from its bench did not bode well for Stetson, as nine players scored for the Bulls, led by Orekhova’s 22 points and 21 from McDonald.
A matchup USF exploited exclusively in the second half was McDonald in the low block, as the 6-foot-4 senior had her way against the Hatters’ smaller post defenders. McDonald scored nine points during a 20-2 run early in the second half that gave the Bulls control.
Orekhova became the 20th member of South Florida’s 1,000-point club with her 22-point effort, and she added six rebounds and four assists.
Williams flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.